Comedy

W. Kamau Bell plays the Fillmore, but doesn't hold back for the home crowd

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A word of advice to the person who shouted, “who’s your favorite clothing designer?,” at W. Kamau Bell during his December 9th show at the Fillmore: a guy who wears a "Legalize Arizona" t-shirt during a night he considers one of the biggest moments of his career probably doesn’t give a shit about fashion. (Initially befuddled by the question, Bell eventually responded "Dickies.") In addition, to the person who asked Bell whether or not he thought was a whore for being on TV, if he is a one ... well you paid for your ticket to the show, right?

Glad we could get that out of the way first. Read more »

W. Kamau Bell returns triumphant to the Bay, needs burrito

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Attention burrito vendors of the Mission, there is a sale to be made at the arrivals gate of SFO this weekend when newly-minted TV star W. Kamau Bell makes his triumphant return to the city in which he spent 15 years honing his comedic chops. He is aching for a Mission burrito like this city is aching for a more efficient MUNI system.

Culinary yearnings aside, this Sunday Bell headlines a standup show at the Fillmore as part of his “Kamau Mau Uprising” tour. The tour's moniker should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with Bell's politically progressive, acerbic wit. Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: PianoFight

A multi-faceted, multi-armed organization of sketch comedy, original drama, new play festivals, and comedy-horror-ballet about ducks

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GOLDIES A PianoFight show can be almost as striking for its audience as for what the company puts onstage, even if few audiences will upstage a machine that blows ducks out of people's butts, per Duck Lake. PianoFight crowds are conspicuously not your typical theatergoers — they're closer to the boisterous women in office attire I noticed at the now-defunct Off-Market Theater, PianoFight's old haunt, who had smuggled in a bottle of Chardonnay and were picnicking in a back row like it was Baker Beach. Read more »

Damn, that's crazy: Frankie Quinones' TV debut on Nickelodeon

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W. Kamau Bell's recent success notwithstanding, when it comes to Bay comics, we love Frankie Quinones as our stand-up ambassador. His shows -- including a packed-to-the-brim gig a few we attended months ago in the cozy basement space of Bossa Nova -- are where you want to go to watch the grown-and-sexy of the Bay Area crack. Up.Read more »

Oh no they didn't! Hilarious horror stories at Mortified

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Why is it that I like myself most when looking back on my years as a college freshman, drunkenly spooning peanut butter into my mouth amid the squalor of my dirty kitchen? Why is it that I appreciate a boyfriend most when I see his elementary school photos and realize he used to look like a well-fed lizard in glasses?

I'm going to wager that it isn't my own affinity for the less-than-socially acceptable and is actually a testament to the fact that humans often love that which is most, well, human. And humanity has the tendency to do some painfully embarrassing stuff.
 
This is the concept that drives Mortified, a collection of short readings and performances of the sometimes brilliant, sometimes artistic, sometimes sad, and always humiliating personal musings its performers created as children and teens. The brainchild of creators and producers Dave Nadelberg and Neil Katcher, Mortified has a constantly changing cast, mainly consisting of adults who have, fortunately, left most of their adolescent angst behind — but still have plenty of stories to tell about it.

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Chuckle connection: The Bay's most diverse comedic line-up goes on tour

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There's no question that a childhood spent growing up Ethiopian in Haight-Ashbury made fertile ground in which to grow a stand-up career. That's where Yanye Abeba is coming from. Abeba is performing in Kung Pao Kosher Comedy's second Color of Funny comedy tour on Thu/21 and Fri/22. Her schtick will be part of a unique line-up -- and afterall, how many other people can pull on the interactions between their first generation African father and the homeless kids on Haight Street for their funny? Read more »

The Performant: Strangelove

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“City of Lost Souls” at ATA, and “Awkward Dinner Party” at the EXIT Theatre, subverted the Valentine spirit.

Talk about a hot mess. The florid, fluid, City of Lost Souls (1983), Rosa von Praunheim’s seldom-screened, "transgendered ex-pat food-fight sex-circus musical extravaganza" begins with a motley cast of unapologetic misfits sweeping up a trashed-out Berlin burger joint, the “Hamburger Königin” (Burger Queen). Shimmying on the counter, falling out of her lingerie, punk rock’s first transwoman cult darling, Jayne County, belts out “The Burger Queen Blues” while her fellow wage slaves, Loretta (Lorraine Muthke), Gary (Gary Miller), and Joaquin (Joaquin La Habana) gyrate suggestively across the linoleum until the boss-lady, Angie Stardust (as herself), a regal, “old school” transsexual wrapped in an enormous fur coat, curtails their goofy antics with a whistle and megaphone.

In stern German she orders them back to work—preparing for the next round of abusive food fights, which characterize the “service” at her uniquely unappetizing restaurant. A Theatre of the Ridiculous-style foray into the secret lives of gender outlaw ex-pats in flirty, dirty Berlin, “Lost Souls” isn’t your typical romance—but it’s a love story all the same.

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Calling all Kevin Smith fans (you know you're out there)!

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At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Smith created one of festival's biggest sensations for audiences and film buyers alike by announcing he was going to auction off his film Red State after its world premiere screening.

Added to that, the hate-spreading publicity junkies known as the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would be staging a protest in front of the event with their usual "GOD HATES FAGS" signs, which in turn inspired Smith to stage his own protest of the Kansas-based church as a self-proclaimed "FAG ENABLER," which in turn inspired hundreds of people from Park City to make their own signs. Tickets to the movie were rumored to have been scalped for close to a thousand dollars, and the buzz surrounding the situation was truly something I have rarely felt at Sundance.

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Unintelligible genius: looking back at all four shows of the Reggidency

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When Reggie Watts first came to my attention, through a series of appearances on Conan O’Brien’s show a few years back, I didn’t know where to place him. My first instinct was to lump him in with the trend in music – particularly indie rock –  around the looping pedal where solo artists including Owen Pallett and tUnE-YaRds could layer mic samples atop one another during a live performance to get a larger, simulated band sound. Read more »

Reggie Watts melts minds at SF Sketchfest's Reggidency kickoff

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“Welcome to [SF] Sketchfest,” Reggie Watts said, in what appeared to be his natural voice, “it’s going to be a big night for all of you guys.” The first night of his four-part “Reggidency” at the comedy festival was billed as being Just the Music but from before Watts took the stage at Yoshi’s SF – giving himself an introduction from behind the the curtain and then launching into a series of characters that wavered from pseudo-unintelligible to borderline familiar (Japanese? Jesse Jackson? Vallejo-ean?) – it was clear that label was Just a Guess. Read more »